The Zachary Smith Term Professorship for Excellence in Undergraduate Education
The Zachary Smith Term Professorship for Excellence in Undergraduate Education were established by Zachary Smith ’47 in 1993. Created during the University’s Bicentennial Campaign for Carolina, the professorships are awarded for a period of three to five years to outstanding faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences. The award is based on teaching achievement and excellence in fine arts, humanities or social sciences.
Smith was born in Mount Airy in 1925. He received an economics degree from UNC in 1947 and went through naval training at Harvard. Smith served as a U.S. Navy lieutenant in the Pacific during World War II before graduating from Carolina.
For his entire professional career, Smith worked for the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., starting as an inventory clerk in 1947 and finally serving as its treasurer and a director until he retired in 1985. Smith served as a director of the University’s Arts and Sciences Foundation and president of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation in Winston-Salem, a foundation established in 1936 by the Reynolds family that provides millions of dollars in grants every year to N.C. causes. Smith also was a member of the Chancellors’ Club, a former director of the General Alumni Association and former chairman of the UNC-CH Board of Visitors.
Smith, who died in 2007, had a special interest in undergraduate education in the humanities and endowed the professorships because, as he said, “a superb classroom teacher can be the inspiration for a lifetime.”
In 1993, Michael K. Salemi, a 1982 recipient of the University’s Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, was named the first Zachary Smith Term Professorship for Excellence in Undergraduate Education. Salemi, a professor of economics, also was the Bowman and Gordon Gray professor from 1987 to 1990.
The Zachary Smith Term Professors: